IT’S hard to believe that two years have passed since I was given the huge honour of becoming the MP for Weaver Vale.

Even in this relatively short space of time, our political landscape has changed beyond all recognition.

Brexit has become the defining issue of our time and internal government conflict has again led to the downfall of yet another Conservative Prime Minister.

There are strong views on all sides and while it’s clear Brexit is the biggest issue our politics is currently having to contend with, it’s a shame also that it’s managed to overshadow virtually everything else.

Thousands of civil servants have been redeployed to tackling the various aspects of Brexit, and it’s come to take up virtually all political discourse in the media, as well as led to upheaval in the inner workings of government itself.

But this has all come at a time when there are other huge issues we have to contend with as a country.

Child poverty and food bank use are continuing to increase, while flagship welfare policies such as Universal Credit have been so badly rolled out that they’ve plunged many thousands of people into economic despair.

These challenges have been all too apparent in Weaver Vale, from the people who come to see me at my regular surgeries, as well as the 8,000 cases we’ve dealt with as an office in the past two years.

Cuts to schools and further education funding have also been something I’ve fought against. A survey of 49 schools in Weaver Vale carried out by my office revealed they stand to lose more than £3.4 million, with 60 per cent of schools having to make staffing cuts.

But looking to the future, I also see much to be optimistic about.

This generation of young people are more engaged politically than perhaps at any time since I joined the Labour party myself as a 17-year-old.

Whenever I visit schools in Weaver Vale I’m struck by their passion and level of insight. They utterly reject bigotry, they care about the environment, they want to change this country for the better, and I’m absolutely certain that they will.

In Northwich I see a town with huge potential, which only this year the town was nominated in the Rising Star category of the Great British High Street Awards.

Despite significant challenges in the retail sector illustrated by the recent decision to close M&S in Northwich, I am determined to work with the local community, businesses and the council to secure a greater independent retail and cultural offer in Northwich. Business rate reform is needed as well as much better transport infrastructure to do this.

One of the biggest issues facing many Northwich residents – the leasehold scandal – is another area about which I’m optimistic, albeit cautiously.

Working alongside Labour colleagues campaigners and residents, we’ve made real progress to bring an end to this feudal practice. Keeping it in the spotlight and ensuring it doesn’t get lost in the political agenda has been key, but whether it’s been through public meetings or raising the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions, that’s something we’ve managed to do.

The battle against illegal fox hunting has also been a big issue in Weaver Vale. Last year I called for the Police and Crime Commissioner to launch an investigation into how Cheshire Police looks into these incidents.

This investigation was concluded earlier this year and produced a number of findings which have been largely welcomed by the anti-hunt community and local residents.

Fracking is something I’ve also been campaigning on, keeping the issue in the public eye and ensuring the big players are under no illusions that it is not wanted or welcome here.

I’ve continued to campaign for better rail services, from two trains an hour and disabled access at Northwich station, to overcrowding at Greenbank Station.

We recently saw a new service passing through the long-awaited Halton curve track in my constituency, a development which will be a huge boon to rail travel in our area.

These last two years have been eventful no doubt, but exciting too.

I go into the next two years full of optimism that by working together, Weaver Vale will continue to thrive.